Pack your snow gear. Sachem North football star Dalton Crossan has signed to play college football at New Hampshire. He made the announcement Thursday morning at a Signing Day conference at the high school in Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y.
Opting for an FCS school over an FBS institution should prove fruitful for Crossan, who will be a priority player at New Hampshire and not just an added name to the depth chart at a place like Syracuse or Purdue, who were interested in his services.
“He’s dynamic,” New Hampshire coach Sean McDonnell told the Union Leader newspaper in Durham, N.H. “Very explosive. He can be a corner, a strong safety, running back. He’s very, very athletic and puts up some big yards.”
Crossan said he didn’t see too many differences between CAA schools and conferences like the MAC. The Wildcats have beaten five of their last seven Division IA opponents and made the NCAA Division I FCS Playoffs eight straight seasons (currently the nation's longest streak); not to mention the university has had nearly 40 players associated with NFL teams over the years.
“When I went up to New Hampshire I met the kids, met the coaches, saw the campus and really felt like it was the right place for me,” said Crossan. “I connected with the coaches and the guys. I’m very happy with the level of football in the CAA and liked everything about it. When it came down to deciding, it made it pretty easy.”
Crossan, this year's co-winner of the Hansen Award, given to the top player in Suffolk County, had a handful of offers for football from schools like Penn, Fordham, Stony Brook and Buffalo, among others, and was offered by Michigan and Notre Dame for lacrosse, but he was looking for the best outlet for playing time and exposure.
“It’s been a long and tiring process, but it’s been fun at the same time,” he said. “It’s been strenuous and it’s nice to get it done with. I’m looking forward to my next five years there.”
There has been talk of Crossan red-shirting his true freshman season in order to learn the offensive system and to adhere to the proverbial bigger, faster, stronger mindset. He’s already jumped to 5-11 and 190 pounds, which is considerable growth from his last game with Sachem in November’s Suffolk County championship.
“If it were up to me, why would you want to trade your best year –your fifth year as a red-shirt senior – for your worst year as a true freshman?” he said. “I’m just excited to get up there.”
UNH came on the radar for Crossan thanks to former Sachem assistant coach Dave Loehle, a physical education teacher at Sequoya Middle School in the Sachem Central School District, who played for the Wildcats before spending time with the Seattle Seahawks in NFL training camp. He opened the recruiting door with some contacts.
Aside from Crossan, the Wildcats added 12 other recruits on Wednesday.
"We are very excited to add 13 student-athletes to the UNH football family," McDonnell said in a statement. "This class is one of the most athletic we've brought in a long time, especially in terms of speed and versatility. With the great blend of athleticism and ability this class possesses, we feel we've added depth and filled our needs with players who can play a number of positions."
Through the years, Sachem has had a cavalcade of highly recruited athletes sign National Letters of Intent – most notably John "Jumbo" Elliott at Michigan and James O'Neal at Iowa State – and today’s signing adds to a constantly padded tradition of excellence in the Flaming Arrows football program.
“As [our player’s] high school football careers live on in our memories, so will Dalton’s career here at Sachem,” said Sachem Head Football Coach Dave Falco. “His work ethic, his desire to be the best is second to none. His career records and many memorable performances will live long after Dalton graduates.”
You can catch Crossan Wednesday night on MSG Varsity during a special Signing Day Edition of High School SportsDesk at 7:00 p.m.
Did you know? There are currently only two other Sachem football alums playing Division I football. Davon Lawrence and Craig Geoghan are on the roster at Stony Brook.
The Dalton Crossan File
- Crossan set the career touchdown record with 50, passing James O'Neal's mark of 46.
- He rushed seven times for 200 or more yards in his career (six in 2011).
- He never rushed for less then 145 yards in a game in 2011.
- He tied the single-game rushing touchdown record with five for the second time this season. Besides Crossan, only O'Neal ran for five touchdowns in a game twice. Davon Lawrence did it once.
- He set the single-season rushing touchdown record with 35.
- He tied the single-game points scoring record, which is 32 set by O'Neal in 1995.
- Crossan finished his career ranked No. 1 at Sachem all-time in single-season rushing yardage with 2,186 yards.
- He has the overall Sachem touchdown record too with 58.
- His 208 rushing attempts this year are the third most in a single-season in Sachem history. The record is 359 by James O'Neal in 1995.
- His 10.43 yards per carry single-season average is fifth all-time in school history. He holds the record, 12.14, set in 2010. He also holds the career yards per carry record with a mark of 10.91.
- Crossan had six 200-yard rushing games in 2011: (William Floyd 2X, Lindenhurst, Northport, Connetquot, Sachem East).
- With his 218 yards in the county final, Crossan (35 TDs and 2,186 rushing yards in 2011 - tops on Long Island) has 3,170 career yards, good enough for No. 2 all-time in Sachem history. If you add in his numbers from two varsity seasons at Shoreham, he has 4,214 career yards as a high school football player.
- Crossan ranks No. 10 all-time in Suffolk County history in rushing yards and No. 11 in Long Island history. He ranks ninth all-time in Long Island history for single-season yardage and eighth in county history. He ranks fifth all-time in points scored in Long Island history with 434. He ranks fifth all-time in Long Island history for points scored in a season with 230. He ranks fifth all-time on Long Island with 72 career touchdowns. He ranks fourth all-time in Long Island history with 38 touchdowns in a single season.